Totally blocked rainwater drain (beyond repair)

13 Jan 2009
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Hi Folks,

Just moved into a new (old) house 6 wks ago. Survey pulled up a few issues but gradually finding more and more. It was built in (roughly) 1930s.

The most recent is that the rainwater downpipe at the back of the house discharges into a drain which is totally blocked with roots and soil.

The survey said that the rainwater discharges into the foul sewer and I can see one entrance to the inspection chamber which has some crud in it (looks like soil, etc) - looks like nothing has flowed through there for a while.

I called out Dynorod to take a look and they had a go at jetting it from within the inspection chamber. Almost immediately bits of clay pipe and rubble started coming out and their diagnosis was that it has collapsed (probably correct).

Anyway - in the short term there is no way I can afford to have the rainwater drain replaced. It would require digging up the whole patio and relaying it. There are many other problems (e.g. electrics, damp, general DIY bodgeness) that also need money!

Since the gulley where the rainwater discharges into this drain is all knackered, rainwater is actually flowing around the drain and into the soil very close to the house. I have no idea how long it has been like this but am keen to stop water going down into the foundations as soon as possible.

One idea I had as a shortish term solution (e.g. maybe for next 5 years until patio can be done - that's all knackered too) is to install a water butt to collect the rainwater and connect the overflow with some flexible tube (e.g. hosepipe or conduit) to another drain around the side of the house (approx 10m away). If necessary I could also pop a garden pump in there to force the water down the pipe once it reached a certain level.

Any suggestions/other better ideas?


Read more: //
Sponsored Links
Garden hose is unlikely to cope with the volume.

Is there not a sewer nearby that you could tap into. Temporarily of course!
Yeah - thought the same about the garden hose. I believe that the drain originally fed into the sewer, but it's not nearby. The blocked gulley/drain is at the back of the house and the nearest sewer is round the side.

Unfortunately there are 2 downpipes that feed into the rainwater drain. I could divert the main roof guttering into the sewer, but there is a back porch that has its own gutter which is a bit more problematic.

One thing I thought of is to connect the hose outlet close to the bottom of the water butt - thus giving plenty of buffer in the butt for it to fill up, even if the hosepipe is a bit of a slow drainer (e.g. just connect it to the normal output).

Say I got a 100L butt, even the biggest downpour is unlikely to generate 100L before the hose had a chance to empty it. Whadya reckon?
Sponsored Links
First, the bit that you don't want to hear...There's nothing so permanent as a temporary solution. 5 years is a long time for a short-term fix and I wouldn't like to keep such a bodge for so long.

Now the answer you did want to hear! I have done exactly what you are suggesting and it worked fine (for the couple of weeks I had it in place). Two provisos - make sure the butt is large enough - 100l may be enough, but it really depends on how large the area is that the gutter collects from. Secondly - very important if you're intending to keep this in place for the length of time you're contemplating: put some kind of filter on the butt's outlet to stop the pipe getting blocked. Decaying leaves and general detritus carried in the water will block the hose surprisingly quickly. If you're really hard up, a doubled-over piece of ladies tights will do the trick, but check it every so often to make sure it hasn't got blocked up.
Assuming your ok about running a pipe above ground as a tempory measure. Could you not pipe the fallpipe (same size pipe) to a suitable discharge point?

Either to the sewer you mention or alternatively across the damaged patio to some place away from the house. Indeed if possible you could dig a small soak away to discharge the rainwater into.
Hey thanks for the replies all!

I had also considered running a fallpipe to a discharge point. Just didn't want people tripping over it. I'll get out there at the weekend and consider my options a bit more.

Robotmannick - thanks for the info. I feel the same - it's just a question of priorities at the moment. As well as Dynorod had the sparky in the last few days wiring in a new circuit for the oven.

The previous joker who owned this place had the oven plugged into a 13A socket on the kitchen ring. Which the electrician discovered today is not a full ring but multiple spurs of spurs.

And he also said that that none of the upstairs lighting circuit is earthed and one of the metal light fittings was actually live! Bit worrying when there's a metal illuminated mirror in the bathroom :eek:

So it's all about priorities :mrgreen:
From what you've said, your priorities sound right. If I was in your shoes, I'd be doing the same.

Best of luck :)
Could go with the waterbutt idea, and pipe the overflow in 40mm or even 50mm wastepipe, should handle a fair drop before the butt starts to overflow. Can be run tight to the wall, clipped as necessary to prevent accidents! ;) (You certainly dont want the water going into the ground next to the house!) :eek:

I'd get a second opinion on the drains though, certain large firms have a habit of recommending 'extra' work, work that naturally they are keen to carry out for you... A good builder should be able to check the drains over, and give you an idea of cost if you dont fancy DIY. (I'd check, you might even be covered on the insurance as they're old drains and they've collapsed.) :)
Hey Cheers Hugh,

That is also an option which is probably a bit more likely to last a few years than hosepipe. I'll have a think.

DIY is not so much a problem... only a lack of time to do it (currently studying masters part time on top of regular time drainers, which chews up about 3h a day!)

Anyway - what's the best way to connect 40mm pipe to a water butt?

Oh - and am also investigating the insurance route. Not sure about this though because we only moved in 6wks ago. The survey we had done suggested a drain survey, but it also suggested an electrical test, plumbing test, roof test, subfloor test and ever other kind of test. At some point we had to bite the bullet and just take a risk rather than shelling out on more surveys. Ahh... hindsight!
My insurance was also only renewed 1wk ago and I did my usual screenscraper to get the best deal.
Anyway - we'll see :)

Ha! yep, had also considered that now that the weather is turning a bit.

I've seen some 2" hose in screwfix that might do the trick and be thick enough to resist freezing and blockages (hopefully :eek: )

Use a 40mm tank connector to connect to the water butt, provided you get adequate fall on the pipes there shouldn't be a vast amount of water left in them to freeze.

I'd advise caution leaving the status quo as is, that amount of water going into the founds is going to cause problems sooner or later. Should major damage occur you dont want to be giving the insurance co excuses to wriggle out of a claim because the drains were blocked! :eek:

If you do look at going down the insurance route, i'd strongly suggest you get all the drains surveyed beforehand, if one section has collapsed then there may be an underlying cause that needs sorting, e.g. roots, which could be affecting other sections. Problems dont usually manifest themselves until the drains start to block up..... :cry:

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links